The Steel Woods “Old News” (Thirty Tigers, 2019)

When listening to The Steel Woods’ new album, ‘Old News’, the influences are clear from the opening line of the first track, ‘All of These Years’.  If you mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers somewhere in the middle you would arrive at this record. Lyrically it may sound familiar to fans of Chris Stapleton with mortality being at the forefront of the storytelling. Continue reading “The Steel Woods “Old News” (Thirty Tigers, 2019)”

Steve Forbert “The Magic Tree” (Blue Rose Music, 2018)

Steve Forbert’s new album ‘Magic Tree,’ recorded in Meridian (his birthplace in Mississippi), Nashville, New York, New Jersey and Virginia, is a collection of his own songs and the music loses nothing in its quality of production despite the country wide recording venues.  Throughout the album his folk roots shine clear, as does his song writing ability honed over his forty years in the music industry. Continue reading “Steve Forbert “The Magic Tree” (Blue Rose Music, 2018)”

BD Harrington “Then All Was Still” (Independent, 2018)

‘Then All Was Still’ is the new EP from BD Harrington, who was raised and lives in Canada. This release takes a different spin from his previous outing ‘The Diver’s Curse,’ with a stripped back acoustic sound, leaving the record going back to basics. The four tracks, ‘Underside of Love,’ ‘Cold Starlight,’ ‘Out of Reach’ and ‘Rue St. Dominique’ all have a melancholic feel to them in both the rhythm and the lyrics.  Harrington’s voice add to this feeling, while unfortunately the backing music – instead of complementing his vocals – appears somewhat intrusive and distracting. Continue reading “BD Harrington “Then All Was Still” (Independent, 2018)”

Malcolm Holcombe “Come Hell or High Water” (Gypsy Eyes Music, 2018)

Malcolm Holcombe’s latest release ‘Come Hell or High Water’ seems to reflect a man reaching an age where he looks around the place where he lives, casting back over the years and unconsciously puts into song his feelings about what he sees around him. His songs certainly conjure up a picture of wooded mountains, changing seasons, times and the fortunes of the people living there. Continue reading “Malcolm Holcombe “Come Hell or High Water” (Gypsy Eyes Music, 2018)”

Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard “Sing Me Back Home: The DC Tapes 1965-69” (Free Dirt Records, 2018)

Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard are seen as the pioneering women of bluegrass music.  ‘Sing Me Back: The DC Tapes, 1965-1969’ is a raw, unproduced album that highlights the duo’s quality, recorded in Gerrard’s kitchen on a reel-to-reel recorder – their authentic talent does shine through. Some of the songs will be familiar when listening to the unearthed album, like the Everly Brothers’ ‘Bye Bye Love,’ The Carter Family’s ‘Cannonball Blues,’ and Dolly Parton’s ‘In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad).’ Continue reading “Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard “Sing Me Back Home: The DC Tapes 1965-69” (Free Dirt Records, 2018)”

Josh King “Into The Blue” (Independent, 2018)

Josh King’s solo debut album ‘Into The Blue’ is a deeply personal Americana album, which differs strongly from the indie-rock music he’s renowned for as the front man for the band House of Fools. A lot of the album comes from a dark period in King’s life as he battled with drugs and trying to leave his reckless young days behind him. ‘Follow Through,’ for example, was written after a cocaine bender; instead of sobering up in the morning he went to meet his dealer to get more. The song ends with him admitting that he wishes that he didn’t go through with his plans to get more coke. The juxtaposition of the happy poppy guitar backing with the dark lyrics really does make a great song, despite the story behind it. Continue reading “Josh King “Into The Blue” (Independent, 2018)”

Jeremy Nail “Live Oak” (Independent, 2018)

‘Live Oak’ is the third album from Texan Jeremy Nail, just the name of the album along is strong with symbolism for Nail. The name of the album refers back to an oak tree in Austin, Texas, that almost didn’t survive after someone poisoned the tree in 1989, but it did. This relates to Nail after he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, which led to him needing his leg amputated. Continue reading “Jeremy Nail “Live Oak” (Independent, 2018)”

Riley Moore “Vagrant” (Independent, 2018)

Nashville native, Riley Moore’s world travels have inspired his new album ‘Vagrant,’ which reflects on his experiences and his musical influences. The album pays tribute to Bob Dylan,  who is a clear inspiration for the singer-songwriter, on a number of tracks both musically and in his vocals. Straight from the first track, you can see his Dylan-esqe style, clearly drawing from 1960s American folk music. The album comes from a lifetime of experiences with the likes of ‘Pancakes and M&M’s’ – a take on the theme of childhood – something that can be guessed just from the song title. This track truly captures the light-heartedness and fun of an American childhood with lyrics like “daddy’s lab coat was a white cape, his hugs could make the world shake” – the tune fully embracing the freedom of being a child. Continue reading “Riley Moore “Vagrant” (Independent, 2018)”

B.R. Lively “Into the Blue” (Independent, 2018)

This debut album from B.R. Lively is deep-rooted in folk, but has a unique style all its own, with a lot of outside inspirations, which show in its use of Motown beats and string arrangements. Lively is a great storyteller and using folk music to tell these stories works in his favour.  ‘Into The Blue’ is a great album made for easy listening with songs about heartbreak and the world at large.   Continue reading “B.R. Lively “Into the Blue” (Independent, 2018)”

Son of the Chief “Needless Road” (Boxwood Records, 2018)

The Scottish singer Son of the Chief, more commonly known as Mackie Mackintosh, has released a debut solo album “Needless Road” that is a true Americana-indie album. The ten-track piece from the Scottish artist sticks true to an Americana sound, but has clear country-rock inspiration, “Coalfax Avenue” being a great example of this -the electric guitar intro to the track making you believe this is a more mainstream country song, but then the fiddle instrumental in the middle and the banjo backing throughout, brings it home with an Americana sound. Continue reading “Son of the Chief “Needless Road” (Boxwood Records, 2018)”